Mercury falls below freezing point across Kashmir Valley
Srinagar: The intense cold wave conditions continued unabated in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday as the minimum temperature stayed several degrees below the freezing point.
Srinagar city – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – recorded a low of minus 7 degrees, up from minus 6 degrees Celsius the previous night, a MeT official said.
The minimum temperature in the city last night was nearly five degrees below the normal for this time of the year, he said.
The Gulmarg skiing resort in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district recorded minus 7.8 degrees Celsius last night, down from minus 6.5 degrees Celsius the night earlier.
Pahalgam tourist resort, which also serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 9.3 degrees Celsius – down from the previous night’s minus 8.3 degrees Celsius, the meteorological department said.
Qazigund – the gateway town to the Valley – recorded a minimum of 8.8 degrees Celsius, it said.
Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 5.9 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag recorded minus 6.9 degrees Celsius.
Several water bodies in the Kashmir Valley have frozen due to the bone-chilling cold.
A thick layer of ice has frozen over several roads in the city and elsewhere in the Valley, making it difficult for motorists to drive in the early hours. However, the situation may improve as the Valley is experiencing unusual winter sunshine.
The MeT department has forecast that a Western Disturbance will affect the Union territory for a few days from January 22.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and temperature drops considerably, leading to freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here as well as water supply lines in several parts of the Valley.
The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
While ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – which began on December 21 — will end on January 31, the cold wave will continue even after that in Kashmir, with a 20 day-long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and 10 day-long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).